Where there is Hate, Let us Sow Love--Love is the Answer part 2
(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
We continue our discussion of love and hate and their interrelationship, with the idea of sowing love where we find hate. When we feel unloved, and by extension, that life is unloving, we tend to deny the existence of love all together, and thus decry the reality of God. In such pain, it is easier to deny God and think that the Universe has no Source or ultimate purpose than to think that love could exist at all, and that God is merciful and kind. Such persons become cynical and angry. Everyone has their conditioned angle of vision, and we tend to see life as we are, or according to our limited experience, forgetting that we haven’t experienced all of life. Thus we find that some children are taught by their parents and elders to hate other groups of people and see them as the enemy. This perpetuates the world’s conflict and strife, generation after generation.
Speaking theoretically of hateful people, although helpful in understanding this tendency in everyone, is easier than being personally before those who hate or resent us. On the road to realization we begin by being philosophical, and praying to respond, and not react in kind, to how we may be treated. In relationships we receive the opportunity to practice our spiritual ideals. In the face of hateful animosity expressed toward us, we can rise above their negativity by praying to not take their expressions personally, remembering that as irreligion is the backside of the Universal Form of God, so hate is the backside of love. If we have any chance of positively affecting others it is by our spiritual advancement and being able to go beyond appearances, seeing that everyone’s suffering condition is coming from their forgetfulness of their joyful spiritual nature. We may not like everyone’s conditioning or behavior, yet we can practice loving them as spiritual beings.
Some mystical traditions consider hate or other destructive emotions as an error of thinking with no lasting existence, or we could consider hate, resentment, or animosity as being illusory, or the perverted reflection of spiritual love and kindness. This would be consistent with the Vedic perspective that real existence is eternal, and that happiness by definition is everlasting. Krishna and the soul are eternally existing, and by constitution full of ecstatic joy in full knowledge and celebration of Truth. This is the meaning that “love is all there is,” which is another way of saying that Krishna, or God, is all that is.
One God, One Power, One Source, One Love. While some mystics or impersonalists would consider the One substance of God as without form or personality, Vaishnava philosophers and tasters of rasa (ecstatic spiritual relationships) share Lord Chaitanya’s experience that Krishna is One with the Universe and all souls, yet simultaneously, inconceivably different as well. If love exists—and it does—then there must be persons to share it with, as love exists to support and nourish relationships. We are individual, infinitesimal, conscious sparks, full of the loving tendency to serve the interest of the Supreme Whole, Personality of Godhead, which is our true self-interest as souls.
On our quest of loving Krishna, and all souls, we can develop a general love for humanity and all life, seeing them as forgetful parts of the Supreme Lovable Person, Shri Krishna. Although we shouldn’t embrace tiger or snake-like persons, we can learn to believe in their divine potential to manifest their higher goodness if in a positive and supportive environment. People often positively change in response to how we treat them, or if we don’t harshly react to their caustic remark or action. This doesn’t mean we allow ourselves to be abused or harmed, but it means that we learn to keep our spiritual connection, and not be degraded by their behavior. While this is easier said than done, practice and prayer, make perfect over time.
When we are with less than ideal persons, or we angrily react to provocation, we can remember that such behavior is not who we truly are. We aren’t our childhood conditioning, our negativity, bad choices or mistakes, possessions, achievements, perceived lacks, or other people’s opinion of us. We are a pure, though covered soul, part of the Supreme Good, Shri Krishna. Being able to love others, even sending love to a hateful, or violent person, requires us to identify even theoretically our self, and our antagonists, as spiritual beings playing parts on the world stage. We can pray to remember that Krishna will help us to realize our spiritual potential beyond our conditioned tendencies and our false ego which tries to put ourselves above others, and retaliate in kind to perceived wrongs. This is what our spiritual practice is all about. We are awakening our Divine nature and gaining faith in Krishna’s protection and guidance—that He carries what we lack, and preserves what we have, if we are sincerely trying to remember and serve Him in love.
Charity begins at home, so there is no question of loving others, if we despise ourselves—or our perception of ourselves. If we have self-hatred, this means that we are seeing materially, and identifying with our conditioned nature. This keeps us stuck in the past and prevents us from accepting the mercy of Krishna, his holy name, and his devotees. The human condition is limited and imperfect, and everyone has made serious mistakes, blunders, and even moral indiscretions or worse. Though we shouldn’t be proud of this, we have to not identify with them, move on, and see them as stepping stones for our spiritual progress. Admittedly this isn’t like turning on a light switch, yet by acknowledging our weaknesses in the human condition we can use these experiences as an impetus to intensify our endeavors in bhakti, or Krishna consciousness. Remembering our shortcomings and suffering, we can also be more compassionate to others. The past will not equal the future when we are becoming more, or better than we were in the past. Those on the path of bhakti are in the shower of purification, awakening their pure nature and highest potential in this body, while stretching themselves to extend kindness and love to everyone.
Recalling that everything is energy, when we are around someone’s hateful energy, we can send out the energy or feeling vibration of love in response. Isn’t that how we want to live anyway? Anyone who is hateful, antagonistically angry, or displaying any destructive emotion or behavior, is in a diseased state, and we can pray for their cure as we might for someone with a physical ailment. They are a suffering forgetful soul, deserving of Krishna’s love, and we can act as his agent. In the face of such negative emotions directed toward you or someone else, don’t dwell on it, or go on endlessly speaking of it, which keeps that energy alive. Try responding with more and more kindness in response to such a display, and think how the person may be helped.
Bhakti means putting love, or our heart, into everything we do, and doing everything as an offering to Krishna. Our mental culture is essential, because we can physically, externally, do devotional service while our mind is somewhere else. Even repeating to our self, “love, kindness, mercy, wisdom” is a good reminder about who we are and in what spirit we want to act—this is true whether doing Temple service, taking care of family responsibilities, working our job, or shopping. We are never off duty of at being a devotee. While we revere the Temple atmosphere, chanting and doing serve there with other devotees, we have to take that consciousness everywhere—because Krishna is everywhere, and in everyone’s heart. Live by love for Krishna, and where there is hate, sow love. Love is the answer and who we really are.